A Cross-Sectional Study on Empathy and its Association With Stress in Medical Students

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3126/ijosh.v12i3.44432

Keywords:

Stress, Empathy, Medical Students, Medical Education

Abstract

Introduction: Empathy is the cornerstone of the doctor-patient relationship and a crucial quality associated with better patient compliance and clinical outcomes. This study aims to assess the level of empathy and its association with the level of stress in 3rd and 4th year medical students

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in Kathmandu Medical College after taking ethical approval from the Institutional Review Committee and informed written consent from all the participants. The respondents completed a structured questionnaire including demographic profile, Jefferson Scale of Empathy-Student Version, and Perceived Stress Scale. Data were entered and analyzed in Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 20.

Results: A total of 255 questionnaires were obtained with a response rate of 85.2%. The mean empathy score was 101.79 (SD  =  11.26) and the mean perceived stress score was 18.55(SD = 5.56). There was a statistically significant negative correlation between empathy and stress (p-value <0.01) and similar negative correlations were seen in sub-group analysis. Female students had higher empathy scores compared to their male counterparts (p-value <0.01). Fourth-year students reported lower empathy scores than third-year students (p-value <0.05). 

Conclusion: Stress was found to be a significant determinant of empathy among medical students. Medical educators must be aware of this and should try to incorporate means to alleviate stress in medical education. Furthermore, effective stress management techniques to preserve empathy in medical students with a view to improve clinical competency and achieve optimum patient care needs to be studied.

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Author Biographies

Rachana Sharma, Kathmandu Medical College and Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Kathmandu Medical College and Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal

E-mail: rachanasharmabasnet@gmail.com

Abhin Sapkota, Vayodha Hospitals Private Limited, Kathmandu, Nepal

Medical Officer, Vayodha Hospitals Private Limited, Kathmandu, Nepal

E-mail: abhin.sapkota@gmail.com

Ayushma Acharya, Helping Hands Community Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal

Medical Officer, Helping Hands Community Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal

E-mail: happypumpkin95@gmail.com

Prabesh Luintel, Kharanitar Hospital, Nuwakot, Nepal

Medical Officer, Kharanitar Hospital, Nuwakot, Nepal

E-mail: prabesh1234567@gmail.com

Luna Paudel, Greencity Hospital, Basundhara, Kathmandu, Nepal

Medical Officer, Greencity Hospital, Basundhara, Kathmandu, Nepal

E-mail: lunapaudel88@gmail.com

Shaina Sharma, Nobel College of Health Science and Management, Kathmandu, Nepal

Student, Nobel College of Health Science and Management, Kathmandu, Nepal

E-mail: shaina282sharma@gmail.com

Sudarshan N. Pradhan, Kathmandu Medical College and Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal

Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Kathmandu Medical College and Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal

E-mail: sudarpradhan55@gmail.com

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Published

2022-06-27

How to Cite

Sharma, R., Sapkota, A., Acharya, A., Luintel, P., Paudel, L., Sharma, S., & Pradhan, S. N. (2022). A Cross-Sectional Study on Empathy and its Association With Stress in Medical Students. International Journal of Occupational Safety and Health, 12(3), 224–229. https://doi.org/10.3126/ijosh.v12i3.44432

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Original Articles